• Story Net

    How to Gather Stories

    (This is cross-posted from the July 12th edition of Stanford Social Innovation Review, where it originally appeared.)

    Guest Post: Thaler Pekar

    I frequently write about the communicative power of story, and the insights that organizations can glean from listening to story and exploring narrative. But what is a real story, and how do you go about gathering some?

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  • Ford Foundation

    Change By Design

    I didn’t get into the Communication field because I’m a numbers person.  Words are my tools, not pixels or bytes or zeros and ones.  Pie charts are interesting – when someone else explains them.  Even spreadsheets make me uneasy.  I’d rather write a narrative. But the Ford Foundation’s Change By Design conference I attended in New York City in late June may well have been a game-changer for me. For the first time I could really see how facts and figures – when put into the hands of designers, researchers, artists and statisticians– can pack a dramatic punch large enough to have a room full of foundation veterans oohhing and aahhing.

    The event featured leaders in the fields of design, social innovation, art, and journalism, all of whom are thinking creatively about digital storytelling.  During the day-long event presenters shared case studies on topics ranging from experiential data visualization to data for news reporting to collaborative mapping.  It was a day of inspiration more than it was a day of skill-building. It was a profound shift in your thinking kind of day.  I left feeling like I’d seen the future of social change. And the future, let me just say, is information design.

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  • Sw Aud2

    Kiss Your ‘s’ Goodbye

    Guest Post: Tony Proscio

    In a recent Communications Network webinar, Sink or Swim? Jumping into the Pool of Foundation Communications, two of the Network’s most expert members fielded a question that was evidently troubling some people’s sleep:

    When we’re discussing our field, are we talking about strategic ‘communication’ or ‘communications’–singular or plural?

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  • Debra Rubino DSC2126 1

    Revisiting an Audacious Idea

    The look and design of the Audacious Ideas blog of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore really lives up to its name. Bright orange and green elements contrast brightly with plenty of white space and a clean typography, creating a lively and wide-awake interface. The logo is a profile of a person who has a bright orange splash of an “idea” right inside her head, and a visitor to the blog is immediately inspired to think.

    The posts are diverse in content, written by many different authors, and almost all of them lead with a story.  Sara entered the country with a green card when she was ten years old, says one post, inviting you in to learn more about young Sara’s experience with immigration. Danny is a skateboarder reads another post, and this is what skateboarding means to him: “Ever since I started skateboarding around the age of 7, I’ve seen the world in an entirely different light leads to an article about an innovative outreach program called “Skateboarding for Success.” 

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  • Lrsmall

    New Risks, New Rewards

    As the Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Public Life Project, Lee Rainie routinely stays on top of how the internet is affecting the lives of Americans. Recently, Rainie shared his thoughts with the Communications Network about how the changes being wrought by the internet on society are also causing foundations to rethink and retool how they communicate with external audiences.

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